This study introduces a new method for estimating hydraulic conductivity based on the concept of effective groundwater drainage length and DuPuit-Forchheimer assumptions. The effective groundwater drainage length is related to the surface drainage dissection patterns (as expressed in drainage density) forming over long periods of time. Application of the new method to the Oregon Cascades yielded hydraulic conductivity values similar to those documented in the literature. This method represents an effective and efficient way of estimating hydraulic conductivity for regions where the interplay among surface drainage, groundwater, and topography has established a steady-state dynamic equilibrium. It also provides a theoretically sound approach for extrapolating limited local measurements to a large region and revealing the spatial variation of hydraulic conductivity.

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